Monday, 12 January 2015

Thoughts on the upcoming Greek parliamentary election

Readers, the parliamentary elections in Greece will take place in less than two weeks from now, in case you have not been keeping track of them recently.

The first thing I have noticed, as have so many others, is that SYRIZA, led by Alexis Tsipras, is maintaining its lead in the polls over the currently governing New Democracy, still led by Antonis Samaras. However, for SYRIZA to be able to implement its programme, it realistically needs to gain a majority of seats, not just a strong plurality. Unfortunately, the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) is still unwilling to cooperate with SYRIZA even though both are opposed to austerity, neoliberalism, and the Troika that imposed both of them on the Greeks. Meanwhile, the pro-European Potami (meaning 'The River' in Greek) party is hoping to poll well enough to stop SYRIZA being able to form a majority government and prevent a 'Grexit'-a Greek exit from the Eurozone, which I fundamentally believe needs to happen if Greece is to truly break free of austerity.

It is my strongest belief that the Euro, as a currency unit, should be scrapped, not only by Greece, but by all European nations that have ever used it. The continued use of the Euro means vulnerability to the whims and woes of the unaccountable European Central Bank, the undermining of financial sovereignty, and that a currency crisis in one Euro-using nation ultimately affecting all other nations that trade in Euros. The Greeks should defy each and every threat, financial or otherwise, from Angela Merkel and Jean-Claude Juncker and return Greece to prosperity as soon as possible-because of the past sins of PASOK and ND and also the whims of the ECB and European Commission, unemployment still stands at 25%, and >3,000,000 Greeks live in poverty (out of a population of 10.8 million).

Incidentally, PASOK has often been polling as low as sixth place in Greek general election polls- a far cry from its glory days when it often had a majority in the Greek parliament. It is likely that PASOK could lose even more seats than it lost in 2012. In fact, due to several PASOK splits, the latest one formed by ex-PM George Papandreou, PASOK only has 22 seats remaining. There is also a chance that Greece's closest equivalent to UKIP, the Independent Greeks (ANEL) could lose all representation after the election despite previously stating an intention to cooperate with anti-bailout parties.

I believe also that SYRIZA should, for the sake of its principles and the people, not water down its anti-austerity programme in any way and fully commit to socialism (a crackdown on oligarchs is a step forward but it is not enough) and should resist any further shifts away from the radical left, because in such crises as these, that type of approach is needed to solve the economic and social problems that Greece is having. Also, with the Ecologist Greens on board, SYRIZA should turn to ecosocialism and sponsor green job creation programmes if it wins. After all, austerity and neoliberalism are bad for our environment.

Alan.

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